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How to figure out what your dream job actually is

Most people have no clear idea what they want to do when they get older or what the “perfect” job for them entails. In fact, many do not decide at all when it comes to choosing a dream career straight out of high school. Oh, they might have an inkling, but they don’t have any firm grasp on what they want. Even if they choose to go to a university, many spend the first few years trying to figure out what discipline they want to work in for the rest of their lives.

Well, here’s the thing: That’s normal, and the truth is that people in their mid-50s have chosen to switch careers suddenly. It happens. There’s an incredible amount of dissatisfaction with the direction people have taken with their work lives in today’s world.

For instance, according to a Gallup survey, at least 60% of millennials want to switch jobs. They want a career change because they didn’t choose their dream job from the very beginning.

The question then becomes how to work out what job you want. How do you know what path is right for you? To help you answer those questions, we’ve outlined the following steps you should take.

Business man writing in notebook

Communicate with established professionals

If you’re even considering a particular profession, you should be speaking with people already in that profession. Preferably, it would help if you spoke with people who have been there long-term. You can do that by contacting them via email or by simply calling them on the phone. Express your desire to learn more about the profession and in hearing their personal experiences. Invite them to coffee. You pay.

Ask questions about workday schedules, salary, and primary duties.

Think of the entire experience as gathering firsthand intelligence. If they’re amenable, you could also shadow them on the job just to see what a typical day is like. By obtaining as much real-world information as possible, you’ll be able to make a wise choice as to whether the profession that interests you is a fit for your dream job.

Choose specific titles to pursue

Once you’ve decided on the field or industry that genuinely interests you, you should begin researching job titles. There may be only one job title that fits the position you’re interested in, but there could be several, each having similar responsibilities in some industries.

To do that research, there are several tools available to you. For instance, it’s recommended that you go to the library or head online and begin looking through the following:

  • Job boards
  • Online articles
  • Blogs

You could also think about going to job fairs. The idea is to start reading up on the job descriptions attached to the various titles you’re interested in learning about. Additionally, look to see what the physical and educational requirements of the job happen to be. By understanding all of these criteria, you can better grasp whether the position you’re investigating will be right for you.

Continue your education

You should also think about continuing your education. Why? The answer is that many people don’t really find their dream job until they go back to school. In fact, they can’t get it because the criteria for their dream job requires an advanced degree. You can’t hold many positions in today’s market with a mere bachelor’s degree. Therefore, to be competitive, you must ensure that your educational credentials are up to par.

With that said, higher education in some fields doesn’t automatically mean getting a master’s degree or higher. It may mean getting certifications or licenses in various types of software or showing that you’ve obtained specific programming or even marketing skills. Ultimately, you need to get information on all your options to make the most informed decision possible.

Big sign with red heart

Start looking for your dream job

Once you’ve fulfilled all the necessary criteria, such as gaining the right degrees, certifications, or licenses, you can start applying for dream-job positions. Use your professional network or online job boards like those on LinkedIn. Conduct searches using keywords that are related to the position you want to fill. Then apply!

Finally, ensure that your resume is up to date and that your cover letter is professionally written. If you can obtain a referral, get one! Remember that many employers look more favorably upon those who are introduced to them by someone on the inside.

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